Month: August 2014

Ten on Tuesday: Book hauls, diets, and zombie movies

Ten-on-Tuesday_zps5f6ec02b

1. I haven’t linked up for this post in FOREVER. I know everyone loves summer, but it’s when my schedule goes all to pot and I have trouble getting anything done. I like autumn much better. For some reason everything is more balanced and orderly and it’s a lot easier to find time to blog.

2. I’ve been hitting the local Goodwill every week or so and coming home with tons of books from the $1 paperback wall. Some of them are brand-new and untouched. Score for this book lover!

3. I hate it when people come along and try to talk to me while I’m reading at lunch. I’ve only got an hour to get through as many pages as possible, leave me in peace! Sometimes that’s my only reading window all day, which makes it extra aggravating.

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4. Emmys fashion: love? Hate? I thought it wasn’t very impressive this year. More on that in a later post.

5. Has anyone watched Orphan Black? Like it, love it, hate it? It looks good but I’m not sure if I should buy the DVDs or not.

6. I’m getting ready to do a 24-day diet cleanse with one of my friends and I’m dreading giving up my coffee. Like, I can’t even explain how much.

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7. That GIF reminds me that I need to re-watch Shaun of the Dead. Actually I want to have a zombie movie marathon: Shaun of the Dead, World War Z, 28 Days Later…I just haven’t found the time.

8.True confession: I still have yet to watch Frozen. Am I missing out as much as everyone claims?

9. I hate it when I get a bad case of the giggles at work and have to try to hide them. I’m not very good at it

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10. I just celebrated my seven-year anniversary at work. Holy crap, time flies.

Link up your Tuesday 10 with Alyssa here!

Vegan waffles (recipe)

Waffles with strawberries

Egg-less waffles are a bit of a challenge, and while I won’t claim that these waffles are as light and fluffy as a feather, they do a pretty good job of imitating regular ol’ waffles for those of us who don’t eat eggs or don’t want to run to the store in a pinch. I’m still tweaking my recipe, so you might see an updated version on the blog in the future, but for now this is how I make waffles that aren’t tough and won’t stick to the waffle iron like some of my older eggless versions tended to do.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1.75 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter or oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Strawberries and syrup for topping

In a mixing bowl, combine the banana, milk and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well; add to the main mixing bowl and mix lightly. (Overmixing will yield tougher waffles.)

Mist a hot waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour in the batter, about 3/4 cup at a time. (The amount will depend on the size of the waffle iron that you’re using.) Cook until there is no longer steam escaping from the waffle iron or until the waffle is nicely browned and slightly crispy at the edges (about five minutes). Serve topped with butter, syrup and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!

Thought Questions #155-#161

Unsplash Bjorn Simon

(photo by Bjorn Simon via Unsplash)

Another week, another round of Thought Questions! Be sure to check out my friend Celeste’s post as well!

#155: How will today matter in five years from now? I think that every day matters, even if you can’t see it at the time. Today has been a lazy one of relaxing at home, napping, reading, and catching up on chores. Perhaps in five years I’ll look back and fondly remember relaxing while I had the chance! Who knows!

#156: How have you helped someone else recently? I got up early before work to make breakfast and pack lunch for my husband so he wouldn’t have to, because he was pulling a double shift that night and needed the extra time to sleep. Not a big thing, but it did help.

#157: What is your greatest skill? Probably my writing abilities. Which is a good thing, because I suck at public speaking.

#158: Do you see to believe or believe to see? I believe to see. Remember that at one time men said the world was flat; they laughed at Galileo; we thought diseases like polio could never be cured. Belief is a powerful thing.

#159: How are you pursuing your dreams right now? One of my dreams is to make money through writing, so I’m trying to build up my freelance work and find more paid gigs that way. Right now I don’t make a ton of money, but it’s a start.

#160: What’s the next big step you need to take? Probably devoting more time to writing. I need to treat it less as a hobby.

#161: If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today? No! I’m planning on spending the rest of the evening reading and/or watching TV, which is fine for now, but if it were the last day of my life I’d want to be doing something awesome with my husband.

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014: Week 2: Watercolor

Busy Girl Nails summer 2014

I’m a little late posting the week #2 nail art for this challenge, only because I got busy and didn’t paint my nails at all last week. But I found a technique that makes watercolor (or marbled) nails super-easy and eliminates all the mess of water marbling, so I had to share my mani. I only did an accent finger but I think I’ll be doing this manicure again shortly for a how-to and showing it off on all ten fingers!

Watercolor nail art

I used Flower nail polish in Gorgeous Gerbera for my main shade and Flower nail polish in Thistle or That? on my ring finger. These two color also went into the watercolor on my middle finger. (The base is Purity by Zoya.)

I’ll try to do a tutorial sometime next week with a video so you can see how easy it is to do watercolor nails!

Review + GIVEAWAY: Hurraw! lip balm

Hurraw lip balm

Today I have a review and a giveaway for you! I’m going to tell you about my favorite lip balms and then give you a chance to win a few of your own. You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post!

The product: Hurraw! vegan lip balms, $3.79-$4.29; available in 22 flavors at hurrawbalm.com or in select natural foods stores.

The claim: Smooth, not too sweet or sticky, free of animal ingredients or harsh chemical additives, and won’t melt in your pocket. It’s (take a deep breath) raw, organic, vegan, and fair trade, and it’s free of gluten, soy, shea, petroleum, parabens, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, and GMOs. Whew!

Core ingredients: Almond oil, coconut oil, cacao butter, jojoba oil, olive oil, castor oil, sesame oil, and candelilla wax; flavors and colors are naturally extracted or distilled.

I tried it: I’ve gone through several tubes of this lip balm and somehow never got around to writing up a review. As you can see from the above picture, my current faves are chocolate, grapefruit, mint and chai, all of which taste exactly as you’d expect. The formula is super-smooth and not too slippery or tacky. I slather it on all day long and even use it under lipstick to keep my lips comfortable. I feel like the formula is far superior to some other lip balms I’ve tried that turn gritty or slick halfway through the tube.

The balms have a faint scent and taste pertaining to their flavor, but it’s nothing artificial or overpowering. I love knowing that I’m not putting nasty chemicals on my lips when I use this lip balm. The lip balm comes in a flattened oval tube with bright, cute, simple packaging. I like that these tubes fit well in pockets and also that the product doesn’t melt in the heat or turn hard when it’s cold out.

There is an SPF lip balm (made with zinc) for the summer months if you want sun protection for your lips, but I love the flavored non-SPF tubes the rest of the time, especially in the winter. They really make my lips feel great and I love that I can layer them under other lip products without my mouth turning into a slippery mess. (Chronic chapped lip sufferers know: if you can’t layer it with a lip balm, you’re not wearing it during the winter months! Great lip balm is a must for wearing bold lipsticks and lip glosses when the weather turns dry and cold.)

Speaking of the winter months–I like that this balm is really gentle. When my lips are dry and sore (or heaven forbid, cracked), the last thing I want is a balm that’s going to irritate them further. This stuff moisturizes without stinging, no matter how thickly or how often you apply it.

My final rating: 10/10. I could not be happier with this balm. It feels great on my lips and comes in so many yummy flavors that I can keep a different one in my purse, my car, my desk, my nightstand, etc. and sample several at any given time! I also love the company’s commitment to natural and green business practices (read more on that here). I love the price. I love the cute packaging. In short, I love everything!

 

And now on to the giveaway!

Visit the Hurraw! website and choose your own trio of flavors, then use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. It’s open worldwide through the 20th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ten on Tuesday: the oldest trick and fresh herbs

1. I can’t stop laughing at this TV ad. Madest thou look!

 

2. I’ve starting snipping the herb garden to dry. We have bundles hanging from the ceiling, which makes me feel vaguely like a medieval medicine woman.

3. The power was out again last night! That’s the downside of summer storms, I guess. Nothing like trying to get ready for work in the pitch dark.

4. I just discovered dark chocolate almond milk and I’m in love.

5. This month I’ll celebrate seven years at my job. Seven! I can’t believe it’s been that long.

6. Flipping through the fall fashion magazines, I’m realizing that a lot of the hot clothes are items I already have in my closet from a few years ago. Total win!

7. I can’t stop eating chips and guacamole.

8. Excellent belated birthday present from one of my besties: bright green Chuck Taylors. My mom got me hot pink for my birthday, so now I have two awesome pairs to wear everywhere!

9. We got a new boss in Saturday night (actually an old one that I’ve worked with in the past) and he’s driving one of my other bosses crazy. It’s kind of funny to watch, in that terrible way that you enjoy seeing someone annoying be annoyed by another person. I don’t know of a delicate way to tell him that I know exactly how to keep this guy happy without implying that he’s doing a terrible job, so I guess I’ll just sit back for now and shake my head.

10. It drives me nuts when someone nags at you to be speedy in answering their emails, then takes forever to get back to you. It’s just rude, and it makes it really hard to complete work if you’re waiting on a response!

Monthly covers: August 2014

I thought it might be fun to start doing a monthly run-down of the magazines I’m reading for the month and what’s inside. I read quite a few, but these are the more popular fashion and beauty-related titles that showed up in my mailbox this month.

Monthly covers Aug14 1

Allure. On the cover: Rachel McAdams. Highlights: Finding out that lots of fall’s hottest clothes are already in my closet. Not so hot: Yet another article on the “new” nude makeup. (Is there really anything “new” about it?)

Elle. On the cover: Kristin Wiig. Highlights: Guys, Kristen is wearing my uniform, aka my Olivia Dunham outfit. Not so hot: More of the same ol’ “miracle products” and “sexy hair without a blow-dryer” articles that have been done to death. Yawn.

Glamour. On the cover: Katie Holmes. Highlights: An awesome ’60s-mod fashion shoot with Anna Kendrick. Not so hot: Most of this issue was a bit of a yawn, which is weird, since I normally love Glamour. Oh well.

InStyle. On the cover: Zooey Deschanel. Highlights: Zooey talking about feminism. Not so hot: So much fur. Why does fall fashion have to include so much fur?

Monthly covers Aug14 2

Lucky. On the cover: Solange Knowles. Highlights: A piece on fall’s pants silhouettes, plus some neat jeans to shop for autumn. Not so hot: This was another issue that just felt really snoozy to me.

Marie Claire. On the cover: Zoe Saldana. Highlights: Zoe’s interview. She’s so feisty. Not so hot: Everyone’s going bonkers about denim right now, and so many of the pieces featured are just out of my budget range or not at all suited to my body.

Natural Health. On the cover: Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Highlights: I didn’t know Jenna was a vegan! Some interesting articles on mediation, yoga and natural stress relief. Not so hot: Product recommendations that are only partially natural or are tested on animals.

Women’s Health. On the cover: Shailene Woodley. Highlights: Shai’s interview; I feel like we’d be great friends in real life. Plus, a really interesting article delving into the possible root cause and recommended cure for most types of chronic pain (like migraines). I struggle with migraines so any chance at a natural cure is always interesting to me. Not so hot: Swimsuit magic? Please. It’ll take more than a magic swimsuit to get me beach-ready. I like fitness magazines because they inspire me to be healthier, but I also feel like some of the articles can really trigger self-loathing–if people who are already so hyper-fit are looking for visually slimming swimsuits, what hope is there for the rest of us?